Less Serotonin Means Depression for Women and Impulsiveness for Men

Sep 18, 2007

Apparently both men and women have different reactions to the same biochemical manipulation. One of the most spread and most studied mental disorders is considered to be major depressive disorder (MDD).

The fact that reduced serotonin transmission is the cause of functional changes linked to major depressive disorder is already known. Most antidepressants produced today are able to block the uptake site of serotonin in human's brain.

Recent study published in Biological Psychiatry focuses on significant changes in sex and genes what concerns the way both men and women respond to decrease in serotonin function, especially regarding mood and impulsivity of both genders.

Together with his colleagues, Dr. Espen Walderhaug, one of the authors of the research, used a special technique on healthy patients. The technique is entitled acute tryptophan depletion. It is meant to decrease the levels of serotonin in the brain. Researchers found that men turned out to be more impulsive; however, they did not experience any changes in their mood.

Apart from men, researchers found that women had a worsened mood, they becoming more cautious. Such reaction is often linked to depression. Scientists also found that the effect of mood worsening in women was powered by deviation in the promoter region of 5-HTTLPR, which is a serotonin gene, known as transporter.

What researchers have found outlines the complexity of both studying and treating these issues. Dr. Walderhaug stated that the findings of the research performed by his team "might be relevant in understanding why women show a higher prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders compared to men, while men show a higher prevalence of alcoholism, ADHD and impulse control disorders."

Healthy Life Spot